Did you Know? Patients Have Direct Access to Physical Therapy Services
By Dr. Michael E. Polykama, PT, DPT, CSCS
Many patients ask if they need a prescription or referral before starting physical therapy. The simple answer in most cases is: No. New Jersey state law allows for “direct access” for patients to seek care from a licensed physical therapist at an outpatient rehabilitation provider such as Scerbo Physical Therapy & Sports Rehabilitation, without needing a prescription or referral. As a doctor of physical therapy, I believe that direct access is an important benefit that streamlines the healthcare system by making it easier for patients to access the care they need.
November and December are filled with a flurry of activity around the holidays. As much as we may enjoy this festive season, it can also be a time of increased stress and physical strain. At Scerbo Physical Therapy & Sports Rehabilitation, we are your Bergen and Hudson County resource for all your physical therapy and rehabilitation needs, whether before, during, or after the holidays. And with direct access, if you have that “uh-oh” feeling after lugging those boxes of holiday decorations, you can call our office in Edgewater to schedule an evaluation, without delay.
According to The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), some form of direct access exists in every state. Here in Northern New Jersey, a patient can receive an evaluation and some form of treatment without physician referral or prescription. The fact that our state allows Direct Access demonstrates that our legislators are aware that physical therapists are highly trained health care professionals with proven results in effective evaluation and treatment.
Physical therapists receive extensive graduate education and clinical training, culminating in a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. Moreover, we are qualified to recognize when a patient’s signs and symptoms indicate that they should be referred to a physician. Direct access to medically necessary physical therapy services is allowed by most insurance carriers and Medicare. (We will help confirm your insurance coverage and any restrictions to direct access.)
I hope you enjoy the beautiful winter season here in Northern New Jersey. At the holidays and beyond, I am also celebrating our state’s commitment to direct access for physical therapy services as a means to provide the most-timely care to all of my patients.
Dr. Pomykala has a Titleist Performance Institute Certification helping injured golfers make their way back onto the course. He is also a SFMA Level 1 Certified instructor who performes the Select Functional Movement Assessment for those patients who experience high level of pain.
We are always available if you have any questions or need assistance. Call us at 201-941-2240 or visit us at www.scerbopt.com. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.